UEFA Champions League announces quarterfinal draws

Bradley Piros, Sports Editor

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The UEFA Champions saw some very one-sided round of 16 games. Some teams were absolutely run over in the first leg. Some of them came back, some of them embarrassed themselves, but every single game was exciting.

I already wrote about the biggest upset when Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands) came back to beat Real Madrid (Spain) 5-3 on aggregate after going down 2-1 in the first leg, so I won’t do it again.

That same day though, Dortmund (Germany) had the opportunity to dig themselves out of a 3-0 hole after losing to Tottenham Hotspurs (England). The German side fell 1-0 in the second leg to go out 4-0 on aggregate. Harry Kane broke the deadlock in the opening minutes of the second half, killing any hope of a Dortmund comeback.

Match day two, back on March 6, saw two controversial comebacks. The first was FC Porto (Portugal) coming back to win on aggregate after a 2-1 loss in the first leg. They tied the game 3-3 late to force extra-time. They were awarded a controversial penalty and won after the ball hit the back of the net, putting them through 4-3 on aggregate.

The second game that day was my personal favorite. Paris Saint-Germain (France) won the first leg 2-0 at Manchester United’s famed Old Trafford. Man U was one of the teams to complete an extraordinary comeback.

It took only two minutes for the Reds to score, giving them plenty of hope as Romelu Lukaku slotted the ball home. PSG didn’t give up though, as Bernat tied the game at 1-1 in the 12th minute, making it 3-1 on aggregate. Lukaku scored again in the 30th minute to keep his team alive, but they needed one more score to go through on away goals.

In the 94th minute, deep into stoppage time, a handball was awarded to United after VAR (video assistant referee) decided the call. The 21-year-old Marcus Rashford would take the kick. Score and the comeback is complete, miss and you’re the one to blame. It didn’t matter as he put the ball in the opposite corner the goalkeeper was diving to make it 3-3 on aggregate and go through to the quarterfinals on away goals.

The last four games took place over spring break. I didn’t get to watch them because I was at work, and I missed 20 goals being scored over four games. Needless to say I was a little upset I missed out on the live action.

Athletico Madrid (Spain) won the first leg at home 2-0 against Christiano Ronaldo and Juventus (Italy). What happened in the second leg though can only be described in one word; domination.

Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 27th minute to cut the aggregate score in half at 2-1 and that’s how the first period of play would end. Ronaldo scored again in the 48th minute to kick off the second half and tie the game. Tied now at 2-2 on aggregate, the game would have gone to extra time, but Ronaldo didn’t need it. He scored late in the 86th minute to cap off a super hatrick performance and carry his team into the quarterfinals.

The next game was an absolute slaughter. Manchester City (England) beat Schalke 04 (Germany) 3-2 in the first leg, so the second could have gone either way. Instead Man City walked all over their opposition in a 7-0 win at home. It was a lopsided affair that saw one team triumph and the other completely embarrassed of themselves.

The last two games ended 0-0 in the first leg; so all four teams had everything to play for. First was FC Barcelona (Spain) defeating Lyon (France) 5-1 at home. Barcelona opened the scoring when Lionel Messi put away a penalty kick in the 17th minute. Phillippe Coutinho doubled the lead in the 31st minute to take a 2-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Lyon did respond to cut the lead in half in the 58th minute, but Barcelona scored three unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes from Messi, Pique and Dembele to secure their spot in the next round.

The final game was Liverpool (England) beating Bayern Munich (Germany) 3-1 on the road. Sadio Mane scored in the 26th minute to break the tie, but Bayern would get one back after a Liverpool own goal. It didn’t slow the English side down though, as Virgil van Dijk and Mane scored again to make it 3-1 on aggregate.

And that was it. That wrapped up the round of 16 and now the tournament is down to eight. UEFA held the drawings for the games last Friday and they go as follows: Ajax vs. Juventus, Liverpool vs. Porto, Tottenha vs. Manchester City and Manchester United vs. Barcelona.

They will all be exciting, but I’m going to play it safe and pick the favorites to go through. My final four are Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City and Barcelona. At this rate, it’s possible to see a rematch between Juventus and Liverpool from last year’s final but only time will tell.

The quarterfinal matches will follow the same aggregate scoring rules. The first leg matches will be April 9 and 10, each game kicking off at 2 p.m.

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